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BizReport : : October 23, 2012

UK shoppers continue to seek out responsible labels despite recession

The economy is putting a squeeze on UK shoppers' spending habits, but many still actively seek out ethical purchases and responsible labels, according to new research from research agency Shoppercentric.

by Helen Leggatt

Egg_Winner.jpgDespite having to make money go further, 83% of consumers in the UK still choose to look for responsible labels, found Shoppercentric in its latest report, "Window On the Considered Shopper". Compared with 2010, that's a rise of 7%.

'Free Range' is the most popular label with 34% of respondents seeking it out, followed by 'Fair Trade' labels sought by 29% of shoppers and 'Locally Sourced' (22%).

Other responsible labels which have experienced positive growth include 'Re-cycling' (+3%), 'Biodegradable' (+3%), 'Dolphin Friendly/MSC' (+4%) and 'Farm Assured' (+4%).

It's not just those who are left relatively unscathed by the downturn in the economy who are looking for responsible labeling. On the contrary, Shoppercentric found that shoppers not impacted by the economic situation are also among the least concerned about responsible shopping.

Over half (58%) of those shoppers who have been strongly affected by the economic downturn would buy more environmentally or socially friendly products if they were easily available (versus 45% of those shoppers who aren't impacted by the recession).

"The 'have it all' times have gone, and the 'do I really need it' days are here," says Shoppercentric's Managing Director, Danielle Pinnington. "Shoppers are being more prudent and responsible in their buying behavior and as a result they are taking small steps towards becoming more environmentally-friendly and sustainable. The interesting thing is that shoppers don't yet appear to be making that link themselves - for them, being environmentally friendly is more about what they buy, rather than how they buy and consume. This might feel like splitting hairs, but it's a crucial point for retailers and brands and something that they could help develop more quickly."

Tags: consumer survey, economic trends, product labeling, shopping, UK

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